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After more than two decades of fighting, the All-Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) signed a preliminary ceasefire deal with government peace negotiators in Rangoon on Monday.
During a meeting at the Myanmar Peace Centre (MPC) in Burma’s commercial capital, the two sides signed a four-point deal that will allow the group’s members to travel unarmed through government-controlled territories and establish a liaison office in Karen state’s Myawaddy.
Representatives from the armed group and Naypyidaw-backed negotiators also agreed to hold their first round of union-level talks on 10 August, according to the MPC’s Nyo Ohn Myint.
The meeting, which was initially planned to take place in Karen state’s capital Hpa-an but was relocated to Rangoon due to fresh flooding, was attended by the ABSDF’s 24-member delegation led by chairman Than Khe alongside President’s Office Minster Aung Min.
Formed in the wake of a series of military engineered crackdowns that killed more than 3,000 people during a general uprising against Ne Win’s dictatorship in 1988, the ABSDF has been in conflict with the government for 25 years.
The group is known for its links with ethnic resistant movements and waging guerrilla campaigns against the Burmese military largely from the mountains of Karen and Kachin states. However, the group has only a fraction of the membership it once enjoyed in the early 1990s.
Current and former ABSDF members are gathering in Rangoon this week to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 8888 uprising.